Micah Richards has revealed the ‘worst decision of his life’ was to turn down a huge salary offer from Manchester City – only to go on and earn just a quarter of weekly wages at Aston Villa in the Championship two years later.
His revelation was mocked by a shocked Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, after the Sportsmail columnist admitted it on their podcast, Match of the Day: Top 10.
The pundit – who played for City for ten years after rising through the ranks of their academy – threw his grades to the floor in an act of mock rage as his co-hosts laughed and laughed at his madness.
As Lineker noted, his salary at Aston Villa was “still a breadwinner”, but Richards still regretted his missed chance.
“You had to have that many English players for the quota,” Richards began. “So Man City offered by $100,000 a week, five and a half year contract.
“And I said no,” he added after a pause.
Lineker then stood up in disbelief as Richards continued, “I said no because -“
” What did you do ? Lineker interrupted him.
‘Yes exactly. ‘Cause I was number two behind [Pablo] Zabaleta. So, I’m not all about the money.
Richards’ rejection of the City contract was reported in March 2014, after an inconsistent season that saw him increasingly sidelined by then-manager Manuel Pellegrini.
At the end of that season, Richards agreed a season-long loan move to Fiorentina, before returning to the Premier League to sign with Aston Villa in 2015.
After being asked by Lineker if he had recovered from the decision, Richards cheekily replied: Why do you think I work for every f****** broadcaster?
‘Worst decision I’ve ever made!’ Richards finished, to laughter from his co-hosts.
Lineker called Richards an “idiot” as the 2012 Premier League winner continued: “I went to Aston Villa, it was less money.”
“But then we got relegated in the first season, so my salary was cut in half. So I went from being offered $100,000 a week to $25,000 in the league.
Noting that the salary was still generous, Lineker added: ‘No wonder you can’t stand Pablo Zabaleta.
Richards ended his playing career at Villa without returning to Premier League football and went on to work for broadcasters including the BBC and Sky Sports.
Earlier in the chat, the 34-year-old also revealed former manager Stuart Pearce tried to ‘squeeze’ him out of £40,000 a week when he signed his second professional contract at City in 2006.
“I was getting five grand a week,” Richards began.
‘[Pearce] tried to get me one of those times.
“He offered me double the money, so $10,000 a week. But I just entered England [squad].
“So I ended up with $50,000 a week. He tried to make me $40,000 a week!
“The game is over,” Lineker remarked dryly.
In his last outing as a pundit, Richards described Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Arsenal as one of the best games he had ever seen.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Richards said: “I’ve only just come down now.” It’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen. I am not exaggerating.
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